News & Analysis

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    One dead in Virgin Galactic test crash

    “At least one person is dead and another injured after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo space tourism craft crashes in California.” – BBC
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    Charges dropped for #PayPal14 hacktivists, company launches #PayPal15 trend

    “Felony charges have been dropped against 11 of the 14 Anonymous-linked hacktivists who pleaded guilty to waging a cyber-attack on the PayPal website. Meanwhile, the company has been derided on Twitter for launching a new promo campaign tagged #PayPal15.” – RT
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    Facebook’s nonsensical decision to support Tor-powered connections

    Facebook has added an “experimental” feature allowing Tor users to connect directly to one of its data servers via an encrypted connection in order to remain anonymous. It’s not clear how long Facebook will support the connection, but the engineer who announced it says the mobile website will also be made more compatible with Tor, though he couldn’t say when. It’s strange to think that one of the most invasive technology companies in the world is working to support the most popular…
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    Yes, Apple Pay will disrupt in-store purchases — but its impact on in-app commerce may be even greater

    The vast majority of the discussion surrounding Apple Pay has focused on brick-and-mortar commerce. This may be natural given that Apple’s merchant launch partners were Macy’s, McDonald’s, Walgreens, Staples, Disney, and several other major physical retailers. But while this new easy and secure payment method could very well disrupt the offline purchase experience, its biggest impact could ultimately end up being in-app and on the mobile Web. I have had dozens of conversations to this effect with payment industry…
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    Here’s one more reason not to use your iPhone’s fingerprint scanner

    Need another reason not to secure your smartphone with a fingerprint? A Circuit Court judge has ruled that police can require suspects to unlock a device with their fingerprint, but may not with a passcode. When it comes to keeping information away from the police, at least, it may be better to rely on four numerical digits than just one physical one. The judge’s decision was based on the idea that “giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting…
  8. Overheard

    “We didn’t get the price right. I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we’re also willing to say, ‘we missed.’ And so we corrected.”

    — Amazon's David Limp explains the Fire Phone's price problem

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    Android creator Andy Rubin leaves Google

    Android creator Andy Rubin has left Google shortly after handing the reins of his mobile platform to Sundar Pichai and leading the company’s advanced robotics efforts, the New York Times reports. He plans to create “a tech incubator focused on start-ups interested in building hardware.” I wonder how many of ‘em will end up being sold to Google. [Source: The New York Times]
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    Hungary cancels plans for Internet tax

    Hungary has canceled plans for a tax on data transfers, the BBC reports, just one week after it was first revealed. The proposal was met with swift criticism from Hungarian citizens, many of whom have protested the tax for the last week. [Source: BBC]
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    Autodesk take aim at the disappointment of 3D printing

    Last September, Autodesk opened a large two-story workshop on Pier 9 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a luxuriant facility with the indulgent goal of bringing its employees closer to the machines they were making software for. “People said, ‘A workshop? On the water? In downtown San Francisco? From Autodesk? Why?” Autodesk’s Vice President of Consumer Products Samir Hanna says at an event this morning held to celebrate the building’s first anniversary. The 27,000 square foot Pier 9 building is an architectural…
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  14. Uber Halloween

    Uber wisely over-communicates about surge pricing ahead of busy holiday weekend

    Uber’s surge pricing has landed the company in hot water on countless occasions. Most publicly were the company’s arguably tone-deaf response in the lead-up to floods in NYC in fall 2012*, where rates climbed as people tried to get home from work or leave the city. More recently, Uber came under fire (unfairly in my opinion) in San Francisco for what many claimed was profiteering off of a tragic BART fatality and rail service interruption. Large public…
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    First Look staffers finally admit Omidyar massively interfered with editorial, say Taibbi accused of sexist bullying

    Well this is absolutely remarkable. Just a few days after NY Magazine reported that Matt Taibbi was on the way out of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, Taibbi’s former colleagues have published what they claim is the inside story on his departure. In the post, the First Look staffers finally admit what Pando has been reporting for months: That Omidyar exercised a ridiculous level of editorial control over First Look. That control included vetoing editorial hiring and firing and even…
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    THE INSIDE STORY OF MATT TAIBBI’S DEPARTURE FROM FIRST LOOK MEDIA

    “A collision between the First Look executives, who by and large come from a highly structured Silicon Valley corporate environment, and the fiercely independent journalists who view corporate cultures and management-speak with disdain. ” – The Intercept
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    Nike’s new LeBron ad and the dangers of buying into the “Believeland” hype

    Who is LeBron James? Is he a fresh-faced youth who, displaying maturity beyond his years, keeps his head and down and lives up to the hype? Is he a goofball whose nice-guy attitude is a relatable counterpoint to his terrifying on-court prowess? Is he a devil-may-care lord of darkness who simply doesn’t care what jilted Cleveland fans think? Or are they all acts, and James is really the Rust Belt Savior who has returned to…
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    Omidyar-funded candidate takes seat in new Ukraine parliament

    Ukraine just held its first post-revolution parliamentary elections, and amid all of the oligarchs, EU enthusiasts, neo-Nazis, nepotism babies, and death squad commanders, there is one newly-elected parliamentarian’s name that stands out for her connection to Silicon Valley: Svitlana Zalishchuk, from the billionaire president’s Poroshenko Bloc party. Zalishchuk was given a choice spot on the president’s party list, at number 18, ensuring her a seat in the new Rada. And she owes her rise to power to…
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    By speaking for just herself, Rachel Sklar speaks for all women

    I guess it had to happen eventually. Rachel Sklar and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on how to talk about the challenges facing women in tech, and beyond. Today, however, Sklar wrote something about women that I completely agree with. Like nodding-at-every-word agree with. In an honest, thoughtful essay, posted today on Medium, Sklar shared with the world the news that she is single, 41, and pregnant. And — although Sklar doesn’t say it quite this aggressively– she essentially adds that if people,…
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The Week in Review